What to do if you get Covid-19 at work

What to do if you get Covid-19 at work

It’s hard to keep up with Covid-19 rules and regulations, and even when you finally think you know what’s going on, everything changes again.

Recently, there have been reports that some employers are requesting that their employees turn up to work, even if they have Covid-19 or are a close contact. Unless you are a critical worker with an exemption, however, you should be able to protect yourself without risking your job.


This is what you need to do


Step 1: Your priority is your personal physical and mental wellbeing. So please, do everything you can to keep yourself and your close contacts (usually your family or other people that you live with) safe.


Step 2: Follow the health advice in your state or territory, which could include wearing a mask, social distancing, using hand sanitiser etc.

Find up to date information on these pages:

Step 3: If you’re a close contact of someone who’s tested positive to Covid-19 or has symptoms and is waiting for a test result, let your employer know as soon as possible. Follow any work health and safety and health directives for your state, which could mean that you’ll have to isolate at home.


Step 4: If possible, get tested. Isolate until your test results come through. Update your employer if you are able to get a test and again when your results come through.

If you are symptomatic but unable to get a test, most health advice is to stay at home and look after yourself. Don’t go out until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped.

If you have no symptoms, be cautious and refer to the health advice in your state.

Note: If you’re unsure about anything, there’s usually a number for your local health service that you can call for more advice. You may have to stay on a hold for a long time as the health services are exceptionally busy.


What if your employer asks you to come to work anyway?


If you’ve notified your employer that you’re a close contact, having symptoms or have tested positive and they have asked you to come into work anyway, then you need to check your rights.

You can check with your state or territory workplace health and safety organisations what your responsibilities and those of your employer are here:

The Australian Council of Trade Unions has stated that they “oppose workers being forced to go to work while COVID-19 positive” and “will keep fighting for free and accessible Rapid Antigen Tests for everybody and a safe workplace for every Australian.” – President of the ACTU Michele O’Neil

We know it’s not easy, and that if your employer is threatening your employment if you don’t turn up then you may feel that you have no choice but talking to one of the groups listed above may help you make a decision about what you need to do.


Looking for more help?


You can get more information and advice from Fairwork.

If you’d like to check the current public health directives for your state or territory these links are a great place to start:

You can check your eligibility for Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment if you’re unable to work because you have to quarantine or isolate here. If you’re not eligible but need financial help, you could contact Services Australia.

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